Colts hire McDaniels as new head coach

INDIANAPOLIS — The Colts had to wait for more than five weeks, but they finally named New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels as their new head coach — landing the man they plan to pair with quarterback Andrew Luck for years to come.

McDaniels, 41, replaces Chuck Pagano, who was fired on Dec. 31 after six seasons. The Colts interviewed McDaniels in the first week of January and had a second interview with him during the bye week preceding Super Bowl LII.

Patriots assistant quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski is expected to join McDaniels’ staff in Indianapolis, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

A news conference has been scheduled for Wednesday.

McDaniels is the second significant change made by the Colts in as many years. Chris Ballard replaced Ryan Grigson as general manager in January 2017.

Indianapolis will be the second head-coaching stop for McDaniels, who was 11-17 with the Denver Broncos before he was fired midway through the 2010 season. After a stop with the Rams as their offensive coordinator in 2011, McDaniels returned to the Patriots for his second stint as their offensive coordinator in 2012. Over the past six years, the Patriots have reached at least the conference championship game each season and won two Super Bowls.

In McDaniels’ two stints as New England’s offensive coordinator, the Patriots, led by quarterback Tom Brady, were among the league’s top 10 offenses nine times. The Patriots had the No. 1-ranked offense in 2007, 2012 and 2017.

McDaniels began his NFL coaching career as a personnel assistant for the Patriots in 2001. He became a defensive assistant in 2003 before being named quarterbacks coach in 2004 and offensive coordinator in 2005. Overall, he has won five Super Bowl rings with the Patriots.

He faces the challenge of coaching a Colts team that missed the playoffs in each of the past three seasons — its longest playoff drought since a seven-season stretch from 1988 to ’94. McDaniels is inheriting a team that finished 30th in the NFL in defense last season and was routinely one of the league’s worse under Pagano.

Luck’s health will be a key variable for McDaniels. The quarterback missed all of last season while recovering from right shoulder surgery in January 2017 and has missed 26 games over the past three seasons. Team officials are optimistic that Luck will be ready for the start of the 2018 season.

The Colts will have approximately $85 million in salary-cap space and also have the No. 3 overall pick in the April draft after finishing 4-12 last season.

It’s not the first time that the Patriots, with defensive coordinator Matt Patricia accepting the head-coaching job with the Detroit Lions on Monday, have lost both their coordinators following a season. Following the Patriots’ 2004 Super Bowl campaign, offensive coordinator Charlie Weis left to coach Notre Dame while defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel became head coach of the Cleveland Browns.

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